GEMFIELDS had emerged from “a grisly” 2020 after announcing plans today to restart production from its Zambia emerald and Mozambique ruby mines.
Sean Gilbertson, CEO of Gemfields, said there was “palpable excitement” at the prospect of starting up again after a year in mothballs.
“After a grisly 2020 for Gemfields, there is palpable excitement across our worldwide team at the prospect of restarting production this month at our Kagem and MRM (Montepuez) mines,” he said in a statement to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The company is also listed in London.
Emerald sales from ‘mini auctions instituted last year amid the Covid-19 pandemic would continue in the short-term.
The company had been devastated by the shutdown, however. The mini-auctions, conducted in November and December, generated total revenue of $10.9m resulting in aggregate auction revenues of $22.4m last year, a fall of $178.3m – approximately 89% – when compared with 2019. There was no ruby revenue in 2020.
Auctions of emeralds and rubies, using the interim auction model, are scheduled to commence on March 15, the company said.
The series of seven ruby auctions is expected to complete on April 8 and the series of five emerald auctions is expected to complete on April 17, it said.
Gemfilelds said in September it would report a taxed loss of $56.7m or R959m for the six months ended June which compares to a profit of $12.4m (R177m) in 2019. At the time, it said there was no immediate prospect of trading again.
On today’s evidence, however, the company appears to have survived the crisis.